Billionaire Larry Ellison Settles Tree Lawsuit

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 02, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's tree lawsuit finally came to an end on Wednesday, settling a years-long battle between the eccentric multi-millionaire and his downhill neighbors who have allowed their trees to block his view.

Larry Ellison's tree lawsuit began when his new downhill neighbors allowed their monstrous trees to grow so high that they partially impeded his view of the San Francisco Bay, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Though a huge joke amongst San Francisco natives, the tree lawsuit poses an interesting question:

Can you forcibly cut down your neighbor's tree if it blocks your view?

Feeling that the trees are impairing his property values, the Journal reports that his neighbors claim that he even attempted to cut down their trees on multiple occasions.

Ordinarily, you, and Larry Ellison, have no right to cut down a neighbor's tree to preserve a view.

Absent zoning laws, view ordinances, subdivision rules, or an easement, in most states, you have no right to a specific view. However, in some jurisdictions, if you can show that the tree was planted maliciously, your neighbor may be forced to cut down the tree.

Larry Ellison's tree lawsuit is special in that San Francisco actually has a "Tree Dispute Resolution Ordinance" that the Journal reports requires neighbors to attempt reconciliation and arbitration prior to filing suit.

Though a lawsuit was filed, Gawker reports that the neighbors have finally agreed to trim the trees.

But if this didn't pan out, Larry Ellison's tree lawsuit still would have probably come to an end. In the ultimate solution to the typical "neighbor's tree" battle, he bought the home next door for $40 million and planned to move.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard